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The Daily Tar Heel

Stephanie Watts selected No. 10 in WNBA Draft


UNC graduate student guard Stephanie Watts (5) goes for a layup during game against High Point on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 in Carmichael Arena.

North Carolina women’s basketball guard Stephanie Watts was drafted 10th overall in the WNBA Draft by the Los Angeles Sparks on Thursday. 

The graduate transfer averaged 12.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game in her second stint at UNC. Watts previously played for the Tar Heels for three seasons, where she became an immediate contributor, coming to Chapel Hill as a five-star prospect. She averaged 14.7 points and 7.3 rebounds as a first-year. She followed that with her best scoring year, totaling 16.8 points a game. 

She returned to UNC after transferring to USC in her redshirt junior season. She only appeared in four games for the Trojans after an injury ended her season.

Watts finished her North Carolina career eighth in the ACC with 275 career 3-point field goals. And in her final career game, she came up big, putting up a season-high 29 points and seven made threes. 

While Watts has the ability to explode offensively, she’s also a solid defensive player. She finished last season with 40 steals, which was third in the conference. 

Watts has proven just as valuable off the court, as she used her experience to develop into a strong leader. It's another reason the Sparks took a chance on her early when several mock drafts projected her to land outside the first round. 

Watts became the first Tar Heel selected in the top 10 since La’Tangela Atkinson was drafted overall in 2006. She’s also the only player from this year’s UNC team to hear their name called, as teammates Janelle Bailey and Petra Holešínká went undrafted.